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Extremely Halophilic Archaeal Communities are Resilient to Short‐Term Entombment in Halite

Huby, Tom JC and Clark, Dave R and McKew, Boyd A and McGenity, Terry J (2020) 'Extremely Halophilic Archaeal Communities are Resilient to Short‐Term Entombment in Halite.' Environmental Microbiology. ISSN 1462-2912

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Abstract

Some haloarchaea avoid the harsh conditions present in evaporating brines by entombment in brine inclusions within forming halite crystals, where a subset of haloarchaea survives over geological time. However, shifts in the community structure of halite‐entombed archaeal communities remain poorly understood. Therefore, we analysed archaeal communities from in situ hypersaline brines collected from Trapani saltern (Sicily) and their successional changes in brines versus laboratory‐grown halite over 21 weeks, using high‐throughput sequencing. Haloarchaea were dominant, comprising >95% of the archaeal community. Unexpectedly, the OTU richness of the communities after 21 weeks was indistinguishable from the parent brine and overall archaeal abundance in halite showed no clear temporal trends. Furthermore, the duration of entombment was less important than the parent brine from which the halite derived in determining the community composition and relative abundances of most genera in halite‐entombed communities. These results show that halite‐entombed archaeal communities are resilient to entombment durations of up to 21 weeks, and that entombment in halite may be an effective survival strategy for near complete communities of haloarchaea. Additionally, the dominance of ‘halite specialists’ observed in ancient halite must occur over periods of years, rather than months, hinting at long‐term successional dynamics in this environment.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2020 10:27
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2020 10:27
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/26458

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